Independent Thinking Blog

Social Media Rules, Wrongs, and Beating Ourselves Up

We need to stop beating ourselves up.

There seem to be two big trends among social media proponents these days:

  • Beating up on people and companies alike for using social media “wrong.”
  • Beating up on ourselves.

This post deals with a little of both.

First, though, some great food for thought to set some context. Over on his blog, Stowe Boyd pointed to an amazing presentation by Google researcher Paul Adams that looks at people’s communities and the disconnects between our various networks and how online platforms have typically been designed. It’s really smart stuff, and worth going through.

The presentation is particularly relevant to our ongoing efforts to define the boundaries of our various networks. Who should I connect to on LinkedIn? Is it okay if I don’t friend you on Facebook? Will people think I am vouching for you just because we’re connected somewhere in cyberspace?

We’re trying to create  “rules” without having any rule book.

Ari Herzog wrote a very moving post about his struggle to set parameters. He said, in part:

I want to say I am sorry for reading your messages and requests to be my friend, for me to join your networks and for you to join mine. You wanted me to share myself with you on a deeper level outside of this blog and you invited me into your inner sanctum–and I said no.


That conversation continued here. It’s worth reading in full–including the comments–as it’s clear that this discussion is going to go on for a long time.

Here’s my bottom line: It doesn’t matter if your network is more (or less) exclusive than mine. There isn’t a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all community. I’ll hang out where it makes sense for me and evolve the parameters over time just as my business might shift strategies and add or subtract services as market conditions change.

So can we agree to stop beating ourselves up as we work on our rules?

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